Land Ahead! Pedestrian Islands Start to Appear on Prospect Park West

The Department of Transportation has started to install the pedestrian islands along the bike lane, which are meant to help make crossing Prospect Park West and the bike lane safer.

The Prospect Park West bike lane has seen its fair share of use, , , , and , and now it’s getting some accessories: Fourteen .

The Department of Transportation has begun installing the concrete islands at various intersections along Prospect Park West in the floating parking lane on the west side of the bike lane. The islands are surrounded by granite curbs to match the rest of the historically landmarked street, will have trees and pedestrian crossing signals on them.

The raised pedestrian islands are meant to enhance pedestrian safety — all while maintaining the current roadway configuration — by giving them a space of their own to improve pedestrian crossing and give them better sight lines of car and bicycle traffic over the parked cars.

They will be located at the intersections of Carroll Street, Garfield Place, First, Third, Fifth, Seventh, Ninth, Eleventh and Fourteenth streets.

But, although many people enjoy the bike lane, there are others who think the strip of green paint has created and that the pedestrian islands only solidify its presence.

Arthur, a Prospect Park West resident who did not want to give his last name, said that he supports , a group that tried to get the . Arthur is also not happy to see the pedestrian islands being installed.

To him, the pedestrian islands legitimize something that should have been removed a long time ago.

“The Prospect Park West bike lane was installed in a sneaky way, it was not a transparent process,” Arthur said. “The city did not announce that they were installing a bike lane to the residents of Prospect Park West.”

He also claimed that the community board told Prospect Park West residents “too late,” not giving people enough time to oppose it, and that they were told the bike lane was “temporary.”

Arthur said that he wants the bike lane to be removed, but now with the pedestrian islands, he said, that job is going to be much harder.

“The city has the right to do whatever they want,” Arthur said, explaining that they should not have installed the strip of green paint but they did any way. “But, I don’t think they knew what they’re getting into with the bike lane.”

As a pedestrian, Arthur said, crossing the bike lane is dangerous because he thinks the cyclists are reckless drivers.

“We are the ones who suffer from it, but the bikers are so happy and won’t stop with this bike lane,” he said, explaining that he doesn’t understand why cyclists need a bike lane in the park and on his street. “They aren’t happy with just one, they want to install more.”

Arthur’s tone turned a little darker as he talked about the risk of accidents.

“Bikers are going to get theirs,” he said, explaining that more cyclists are riding because of the nice weather and that increases the risk of them getting hit. “One of them is going to get killed by a driver.”

Craig Hammerman, the district manager of Community Board 6, has a different view of the bike lane and the pedestrian islands.

“The pedestrian islands will go a far way toward improving the aesthetic at Prospect Park West and the safety of the people who are crossing by giving them a safe refuge that should be free from illegal vehicular incursions,” Hammerman said. “The goal has always been to take the concept and improve on it further and I think the islands will help accomplish that.”

He also said that CB6 is open to other suggestions in how to improve safety and quality of life along Prospect Park West.

“We are continuously looking for ways to improve our public spaces, to make them more livable for everyone,” Hammerman said. “If anyone has any further ideas, this is an ongoing process without beginning or end.”

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Chicken Underwear May 15, 2012 at 06:55 PM
They don't work for the DOT. Blame Bloomberg for outsourcing.
Parksloper May 15, 2012 at 07:12 PM
I and my friends didn't hear anything about the bike lanes being installed. With the amount of bike lanes, Citibike rentals etc being forced on NYers, there are going to be a lot more accidents. This city is not large enough for taxis/cars/trucks and now bikes.
Chicken Underwear May 15, 2012 at 07:17 PM
yes, and a bike land infrastructure will mean that we will need less cars. Less accidents. Less congestion. anyway, what do you and your friends hear about. These bike issues have been all over the news.
Louis Menashe May 15, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Three cheers for Arthur, and for all those opposed to the disgracefully dangerous and disfiguring bike lane. Lou Menashe
Chicken Underwear May 15, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Lou, How is it dangerous?
lxfan May 15, 2012 at 07:43 PM
Why do so many of you assume that the only people in support of bike lanes are bikers? I am a pedestrian and find that it is automobiles who offer the greatest danger. I think there should be a few speed bumps down PPW to slow down traffic further.
Native NYer May 15, 2012 at 08:03 PM
It's been there for two years. No accidents in that time. No deaths.
Patti May 15, 2012 at 08:07 PM
I agree with speed bumps but not only for cars; the bikers need them also. Native NYer sounds pretty anonymous.
Native NYer May 15, 2012 at 08:20 PM
There are already rumble strips for bikes on the lane.
Chicken Underwear May 15, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Patti, like Arthur probably only experiences Prospect Park West from their uppers story window.
Ken May 15, 2012 at 11:39 PM
David, you are so wrong!! The bicycle path was shoved down our throats by a bunch of just-graduated college kids from the D.O.T. I was at all the meetings before the path was installed. It was stipulated that this was to be a trial run which would be re-evaluated in September of October, and residents would be able to voice their objections then. When the summer was over, the DOT lied and said that they never said it was a "trial" and that it was permanent. They stated in March (before the path was installed) that the total cost would be $200,000, with the Federal government picking up 80% of the cost. I told them then, that the Federal government had not reimbursed NYC for 9/11, how could they expect them to re-imbuse them for a bicycle lane? How come DOT has found so much money to build these lanes (with tax-payer money) and they don't have enough money to fund childrens' playgrounds or swimming pools or libraries. Keep listening to some of the bureaucrats...they need you to keep their positions.
Chicken Underwear May 15, 2012 at 11:43 PM
Ken, I was at some of those meeting too. Most people there wanted the lane.
Ken May 16, 2012 at 12:08 AM
...but the "people" who wanted the lanes were not from PPW. The majority of the ones who "wanted" it were from Transportation Alternatives (they had a group of about 100 people, none from the Slope)and a large group from Fort Greene (most of whom were predominately "new comers" to NYC). The peple who really counted (the taxpayers and residents of PPW and the "park block" (8th Avenue to PPW) were vehimently opposed.
Ken May 16, 2012 at 12:19 AM
Sadly, all of this is now history. For the time being, the bicycle lanes will be in place. (And please, stop blaming Mayor Bloomberg for everything that you don't agree with. Of all the people that ran against him, who would have been better? Charles Barron? PLEASE!! Bill Thompson? Just David Dinkins (whose only employment history prior to being mayor was head of the marriage license bureau) with another name. We should be thankful Bloomberg did run. Let's see how well the next mayor does. Oh, that's right, he can always use the time-worn excuse of "it's not his fault, it's the previous ones' fault".
Chicken Underwear May 16, 2012 at 12:29 AM
Really? I was born and bread in Brooklyn and live on 8th ave. Many of my neighbors were there too. and Fort Greene people have as much to say as PPW people. They use the lane. and it does not matter where they went to grade school.
Peter May 16, 2012 at 12:19 PM
The people of the "Park Block" count for more? Nice to see that you view some people as more equal than others, Ken. I live in Park Slope. I went to those Community Board meetings. It took *years* of meetings (all in the public record). There was very strong support from the community. There *continues* to be very strong support from the community. The opponents? All seemed to live within a block of the park, and were more concerned about parking than anything else. The safety argument has always been a red herring, and the accident stats over the last two years have proven that.
Ken May 16, 2012 at 10:03 PM
Peter...sadly, when it came time to find the minutes of all the meetings of both the Community Board and local meetings of the DOT, the records could not be found. The reasoning then was that neither organization had a corresponding secretary who took actual records of the proceedings. (Most of this can be backed-up by court statements to stop the go-ahead with the bicycle lanes). As for living in Park Slope, I have lived here for 73 years. I have seen it go from mediocre to borderline slum and back to a beautiful, family area. As for Fort Greene residents attending the meetings, the only people that I met from Fort Greene (about 20, or so) had lived there for about 2 years (I don't recall anyone living there longer) and rented apartments on streets between Fulton Street and Flushing Avenue. As I recall, a lot of these people were also instrumental in having 2 bicycle lanes installed on Kent Avenue, and after several weeks, one of those lanes had to be removed because it was proving to be a traffic/safety hazard. Also remember that the "safety islands" that were installed by DOT on Fort Hamilton Parkway and New Utrecht Avenue had to be removed because they were a safety hazard. In short, just because DOT and Transportations Alternatives think it's a good idea to install something, think again.
Peter May 16, 2012 at 10:33 PM
Ken, http://www.brooklyncb6.org/committees/?a=detail&content_id=55 The CB6 Transportation Committee, complete with all the presentations made by the DOT going back to 2007, and committee minutes going back to 1995. Take a look at the letter to the DOT, from July of 2009, following a full vote from CB6, to request the lane: http://www.brooklyncb6.org/_attachments/2009-07-13%20PPW%20Bike%20Lanes.pdf The records are all there. The lawsuit failed. And the safety islands? Those were requested by CB6. http://www.brooklyncb6.org/_attachments/2011-04-20%20CB6%20PPW%20Modifications.pdf The bike lane on Kent Avenue? That's still there. You must be thinking about the one on Bedford that was removed because the Hasedim didn't like outsiders riding through their neighborhood. Funny, that last bit sounds familiar.
Ken June 24, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Peter...you have been sadly misled, as have most taxpayers. The minutes of the meetings of CB6 were found to be "incomplete" as CB6 did not have a person who could keep accurate minutes. You're right that CB6 voted to request the lane, BUT, this was not the wishes of the property-owners (who are the tax-payers) of Prospect Park West and the surrounding streets (8th Avenue to PPW). For the sake of a few non-resident bicycle owners, and quite a few resident short-termed resident-renters, this lane was pushed through. It was originally to be installed on a "trial" basis and be re-evaluated in October. The original cost was estimated at $200,000. Now the cost is over One Million and still climbing. All this for the benefit of a few hundred "bicyclists" who could have used Prospect Park more advantageously (and they still have the Park). Sadly, bicyclists pay no direct taxes to maintain these bike lanes. The City has set up a terrible precident for itself if, and when, a serious accident happens. Lawyers will be screaming that the City ignored the inevitable. So, once again, we property-owning taxpayers will get it in the neck!!
Chicken Underwear June 26, 2012 at 10:05 AM
Ken, Do you really think that people who are "property-owning taxpayers " have should have more of a say in our government than those who are not? Didn't we fight a war back in 1776 to make things better than that. Anyway I have owned my home on 8th Ave since 1986 so I guess my opinion counts. and the costs a probably so high because of all the high profile complaining.
Ken June 28, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Chicken...Congratulations! I have lived in Park Slope since 1938! My parents owned their first home here since 1931! All this when it was referred to as "Park Slop", not "Park Slope". And as a historical reference point, "we" did not fight a war in 1776 for what you think. "We" fought to become "independant" and form our own type of government apart from England. Some of us didn't think that was the proper thing to do and moved to Canada. Looking at the "success" our government has achieved (take a good look at some of our "representatives"...Charlie Rangel and his ilk) perhaps we should have stayed a colony. Canada seems to be a lot better-off than us. (At least they require license plates on bicycles, there!)
Alec June 28, 2012 at 05:56 PM
They do not require license plates on bicycles in Canada.
Park Slope rider June 28, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Carol, you wanted the crosswalk to rise or angle up then down? That may be a good idea, but there are design limits i.e. for wheelchairs, to no limit other peoples use of the crosswalk. I know everyone cant do it, but what about stepping up on to that median? Yes, no one should be riding as you described on the sidewalk, and you shouldn't have to deal with it, but I suggest yelling at them. A well placed scolding does a lot, just be correct about what you are saying.
Park Slope rider June 28, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Rick, I knew about it for years, and I don't get to keep up with the news. If you had ever ridden a bike on PPW before the lane, you would have certainly heard the talk. Even as you were going about your lives.
Park Slope rider June 28, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Ken, some of your facts are more wishful thinking. No lanes on Kent have been removed. A stretch of Bedford ave lane was removed, (an area that is teeming with incompetent, willfully dangerous drivers) as a political favor to bolster a local leader's power. It is shameful that happened. Which version of the Slope do you enjoy more, the slum or the family area, because whenever I see a very young kid riding in the safety of the PPW lane, I can't help smile at that family.
Park Slope rider June 28, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Is the NIMBY lawsuit by PPW residents who were GIVEN Pro Bono legal representation from which the City had to spend money to defend, included in the "One Million" dollar estimate?
Park Slope rider June 28, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Ken, The Great Lois Hanline couldn't find any instances of DoT calling it a trial lane either. And what's wrong with the swimming pools? And how is there "No money" for playgrounds when the 3rd St playground just reopened and the 19th St playground is now being overhauled?
Park Slope rider June 28, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Yes Ken, they also make you move every 4 years.
Chicken Underwear June 28, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Ken, I think you just made my point.
Ken June 28, 2012 at 09:34 PM
New Brunswick, Canada, does!


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